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  1. #1
    Lee Nettnin's Avatar
    Lee Nettnin Guest

    Smile Home Watch Service

    I was just wondering if anyone offers a 'Home Watch Service'? I am currently looking into it after one of my clients informed me that they had trouble finding someone in my area.
    My main problem is coming up with reasonable insurance. I have located one agent who would insure me for $800 a year, but that seems quite high and I would have to do a lot of business just to cover the insurance.
    Any suggestions would be appreciated.

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    Elite MGA Home Inspector E&O Insurance

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
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    Ormond Beach, Florida
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    Default Re: Home Watch Service

    Lee,

    You shouldn't need anything other than general liability ... to cover you for the thing *you* break while *you* are there.

    Going to by to check on a home and report 'what has happened since your last visit' should not open you to any liability.

    While in South Florida, my brother-in-law and I were going to set one up as I had a lot of out of town clients with high end homes, but after watching what many of the other people did who offered that service, and to cater to an affluent clientèle, we would have to meet people there for all kinds of reasons. The time involved would not let us do what we were doing and do that too, so we never started it up.

    Maybe other areas have less demanding (time-wise) customers? There was money to be made, but we would have needed to hire several people to allow us time to do other things or take time off, and then you have to worry about 'what the employees' are doing ... and not doing - therein was the liability for us.

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
    Construction Litigation Consultants, LLC ( www.ConstructionLitigationConsultants.com )
    www.AskCodeMan.com

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Home Watch Service

    Quote Originally Posted by Jerry Peck View Post
    ...clientèle...
    Now I've seen everything. I suppose you're going to use an umlaut next. You've raised the bar, Mr. Peck.

    Last edited by John Arnold; 01-09-2008 at 02:05 PM. Reason: oops
    "There is no exception to the rule that every rule has an exception." -James Thurber, writer and cartoonist (1894-1961)
    www.ArnoldHomeInspections.com

  4. #4
    Lee Nettnin's Avatar
    Lee Nettnin Guest

    Default Re: Home Watch Service

    Jerry,
    Thanks for the reply. Apparently insurance agents are more concerned about what happens to the home in between inspections, and the possible law suits from your clients. Lets say I was there on Monday and a water pipe bursts on Tuesday and my next scheduled inspection isn't for another 2 weeks or 1 month. You now the drill, client wants to blame someone, so a lawsuit is filed.


  5. #5
    Jonathan Clevenger's Avatar
    Jonathan Clevenger Guest

    Default Re: Home Watch Service

    What exactly would a "home watch" service be?


  6. #6
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    Default Re: Home Watch Service

    Quote Originally Posted by John Arnold View Post
    Now I've seen everything. I suppose you're going to use an umlaut next.
    John,

    I don't know what a "umlaut" is, never heard the word, guess I gotta lookee it up.

    Okie dokie, here it is, found it.

    Main Entry: 1um·laut Pronunciation: \ˈüm-ˌlau̇t, ˈu̇m-\ Function: noun Etymology: German, from um- around, transforming + Laut sound Date: circa 1845 1 a: the change of a vowel (as \ü\ to \ē\ in goose, geese) that is caused by partial assimilation to a succeeding sound or that occurs as a reflex of the former presence of a succeeding sound which has been lost or altered b: a vowel resulting from such partial assimilation2: a diacritical mark ¨ placed over a vowel to indicate a more central or front articulation — compare diaeresis

    Hmmm, now that I know what of you are referring to ... spell check did that - not me.

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
    Construction Litigation Consultants, LLC ( www.ConstructionLitigationConsultants.com )
    www.AskCodeMan.com

  7. #7
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    Default Re: Home Watch Service

    Quote Originally Posted by Lee Nettnin View Post
    Lets say I was there on Monday and a water pipe bursts on Tuesday and my next scheduled inspection isn't for another 2 weeks or 1 month.
    First, you would want to go by at least once per week.

    Second, if the pipe burst the day after you were there, whether it was the following week or a month later, that is not going to matter much at that point.

    It all depends on how you contract your service out. You set the bounds (you have a fee $chedule which includes many options) and they select what they are willing to pay for (they, therefore, are limiting you to what they want, not what you are willing to do).

    Last edited by Jerry Peck; 01-09-2008 at 07:40 PM.
    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
    Construction Litigation Consultants, LLC ( www.ConstructionLitigationConsultants.com )
    www.AskCodeMan.com

  8. #8
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    Default Re: Home Watch Service

    Johnathan,

    A home watch service is where you contract with your clientèle (checking to see if spell check does that again ) to check the house on a scheduled basis and check / do certain things.

    Check for stains at the upper floor ceiling from roof leaks.

    Check for stains at windows for leaks.

    Check to make sure all windows are closed and not broken.

    Bring mail, paper and packages in.

    Check to make sure ... you make the list.

    You can also include ... to meet service workers at the house, and be there with them if the client requests that ... you could water interior and exterior plants ... check the pool and call the pool service person if needed ... keep heat or a/c as prescribed temperatures ... raise / lower that temperature the day of / day before the clients return ... cover the furniture with sheets to keep dust off / remove sheets before clients return ... sweep / vacuum / dust as needed to keep things clean and neat ... the list is endless, all depending on who your clients are and what they are willing to pay for.

    We had one client who lived in Belgium and had a large house (about $3 mil at the time, now more like $10 mil) on Sunset Island IV in Miami Beach who would come over several times a year for two weeks, and would allow friends to come over when he was gone, we would keep everything ready for everyone, all he did was call. We were doing major renovation work as the 1991 addition was settling away from the 1938 house (house was on grade beams and pilings, the addition was not ... big oops someone made there) so doing those things, and others, was not a problem.

    But after starting to do more for more people, we realized we were getting into more than we wanted, so we weaned everyone off us.

    Like I said, you can offer as much as you want, it depends on your clients and what they want as to what they will go for.

    Many of the places I inspected had people who did that for the owners, these were the people who would open the house for me and come by to make sure I locked the house back up. Some of these people would take the owners to the airport and pick them up when the owners came back.

    It was a real waste of money to see a $15 mil house being used once or twice a year for one - two - three weeks each time. But, hey, if you have the money ...

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
    Construction Litigation Consultants, LLC ( www.ConstructionLitigationConsultants.com )
    www.AskCodeMan.com

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Oct 2003
    Location
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    Default Re: Home Watch Service

    We have a PC customer that we do "Housesitting" for in the summer months while they gone to another home in the south of France or to another home they have in Italy.

    I go by there a couple times a week to check on the house, the pets, pick up mail, and just make sure the house is ok. I even have a checkbook that I can pay expenses out of for them.

    We are even allowed to spend the night if we desire to do so which I have done before just to make the house look somewhat occupied. Actually I've picked up a couple more clients this year to do the same thing for but it will include a few more maintenance type issue like maintaining the pool and making sure the grounds are maintained.

    I've even thought about retiring one day from the HI biz and doing this type of business more. I already do some maintenance type things on homes owned by some airline pilots who are out of town quite often and for a sports figure during his off season when he's not in the Dallas area. I change out air filters, keep pool chemicals maintained, and schedule any specialized work that may need to be done.

    The extra revenue is great.

    rick


  10. #10
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    Philadelphia PA
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    Default Re: Home Watch Service

    Quote Originally Posted by Jerry Peck View Post
    Hmmm, now that I know what of you are referring to ... spell check did that - not me.
    Whew! I thought you were gettin' all high falutin' on us, düde.

    "There is no exception to the rule that every rule has an exception." -James Thurber, writer and cartoonist (1894-1961)
    www.ArnoldHomeInspections.com

  11. #11
    Lee Nettnin's Avatar
    Lee Nettnin Guest

    Default Re: Home Watch Service

    Hi Rick,
    Have you picked up any new insurance for the 'house sitting' portion of the business? My agent said that my HI insurance would not cover me should something happen.


  12. #12
    Join Date
    Oct 2003
    Location
    Rockwall Texas
    Posts
    4,517

    Default Re: Home Watch Service

    We do have a GL policy.

    rick


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